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Back to Basics: Workforce Management 101

January 29, 2018 | Workforce Management

Let’s start at the beginning. Workforce Management is commonly referred to as WFM and is considered to be a far-reaching and often times term that’s used without regard to a particular definition. Some people refer to it as Human Resource Management, HRM, but that can be viewed as an even broader term. Essentially, WFM is the activities required to sustain a productive workforce that include labor forecasting, employee scheduling, worker performance reviews and monitoring, and the tracking and analyzing of employee hours, time and attendance and absence management.


In the end, workforce management is a requirement for any size business in the hopes that a company can schedule the right workers, with the proper skills, at the exact time there is demand for the products and services offered. It sounds easy enough, but it’s not.

There are an unlimited number of wrinkles along the way that make WFM particularly challenging. A changing workforce, decisions that need to be made on the fly, absenteeism, poor performance, overtime pay, employee turnover, training and retraining, and the beat goes on. Because employees are your greatest asset, but also your greatest liability, you should invest in the resources you need to produce an efficient workforce. This investment might be a human resource manager, workforce management software, or both.

Why make an investment? Well, there are many reasons and, of course, it begins with money. As the saying goes, you’re going to need a process when dealing with people and processes. And that process is almost certainly going to include workforce management software that can control the forecasting, scheduling, performance and tracking that’s part of its very definition. If you’re trying to do this manually by using spreadsheets and calendars, you’re going to have a difficult time saving money when your competitors are running mean and lean.

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And then there’s the amount of time it takes to manage a workforce. Wouldn’t it be a better use of your time conducting advanced training, creating cultures of success and results, providing encouragement and satisfaction rather than correcting mistakes, making phone calls, sitting in meetings about workforce challenges and the like? Properly managing your labor means making it as administratively as simple as possible. This can also be accomplished with software and technologies that are as important and influential to workforce management as anything a company can do.

And there’s more. According to Workloud, the international workforce management software company that specializes in employee scheduling, time and attendance, and absence management solutions, companies can save as much as 7% on their workforce management costs by implementing software that is focused on demand-driven scheduling.  And who wouldn’t want to save as much as 7% on your highest company-wide costs?

Finally, with State and Federal laws mandating all companies be compliant in their wage reporting and tracking of hours and overtime -- or risk penalties from their mistakes and inaccuracies -- it’s almost a certainty that without some automated workforce management system, there will be penalties. Add to this the newfound complexities attributed to “Fair Work Week” and “Predictive Scheduling” legislation, and you have yourself a potential quagmire of issues, challenges and uncertainties.

But one thing’s for certain. As you learn more about workforce management and all of the moving parts that go along with it, you’ll also learn about the exact resources you’ll need to be competitive. There’s no need to go it alone, resources are plentiful and efficiencies will happen.

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Originally published January 29, 2018, updated February 8, 2018
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